Float #60: Big River

21 Dec

Cedar Hill to House Springs

F60_Big

Big River
Jefferson County, Missouri
Saturday, December 15
10 miles

For the first time ever, we have accomplished two floats in December! I don’t know whether to thank global warming or our membership in St. Louis Adventure Group, but they both played a big part in pulling this off. The same organizer that hosted the previous Big River trip scheduled another trip on the next section downriver. The first weekend it was scheduled got rained out. The second weekend our organizer, John was too sick to float. So, DW offered to lead the trip and John ran shuttle for us. It was a very small group, just DW, me and Mike, a SLAGer we just met that day. We met up at Cedar Hill access where we took out last trip. The weather was a little breezy but fairly warm with highs near 60˚, a good day for a float.

Big River, Cedar Hill access

Cedar Hill access

Big River

Waiting to push off at Cedar Hill

Big River

Big River

Big River

We pushed off a little before 10am as the clouds started to break up and the sunshine came through. We chatted with Mike getting to know each other and paddled downriver. This section of the river has fewer houses than the Morse Mill to Cedar Hill section. The first couple miles were long, slow stretches with some small riffles in between. The river then slowed down a lot. There is a rock dam about halfway through this section which makes the river deep and slow for a few miles. Luckily the wind was at our back for the most part. It would not have been a good day to paddle a canoe. I brought my fishing pole and cast a few times before we got on the river, but once we started paddling it was too windy.

Big River

Big River

Big River

Private Dam at Byrnesville

Big River

Big River

Old Byrnesville bridge

We reached the dam just after lunch. You can hear the water tumbling over the rocks as you approach. There is an easy portage all the way to the right of the dam. We spent a little while here admiring the view. I could not find much information about this dam on the internet, but I did learn the dam was built in 1836 from logs and rocks and it still looks much the same today as when it was built. The building on the left bank is the old Byrnesville Mill. The foundation appears to be original, but the mill’s facade has been rebuilt to look more like a residence. It is a very scenic area.

Big River

Big River

Big River

Hwy. W bridge

Big River, House Springs access

House Springs access

After the dam the water speeds up a little bit, but soon slows again. There is another dam near House Springs, after our take out that slows the water. We paddled the last few miles in exercise mode and finished our float by 2:30. It was a very pretty day on the river with the sun and clouds painting a scenic sky and the bright sycamores on the banks. It think this is the last float of the year (unless we get lucky the last weekend of the month). I will be writing a quick retrospective next week to sum up the year. Have a great holiday everyone and I hope Santa leaves you some cool paddling gear in your stocking!

Critter Count: Hawks, Ducks, Kingfishers, Pileated Woodpecker

Bonus Prize: One frisbee

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